RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson topped the Kraft Nabisco Championship leaderboard Saturday, setting up a final-round showdown the LPGA Tour has been waiting for.
Wie, 24, shot bogey-free 4-under 68 to match Thompson at 10-under 206 at Mission Hills in the first major championship of the year.
Second-round co-leader Thompson, 19, had 69 after driving into a fairway bunker and missing a 3-foot par putt on the par-5 18th. She also missed two short birdie putts.
Wie, anointed the great American hope for women's golf when she was in her teens, hasn't lived up to her promise. She has two tour victories, the last one in 2010 at the Canadian Women's Open. She has been in the top 16 in all five of her starts this year, finishing a season-best fourth in Thailand.
Thompson, the current holder of the "great American hope" label, is already a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour. Neither she nor Wie has won a major.
"I think Lexi is a really entertaining golfer," Wie said. "I like to think I'm somewhat entertaining as well. So I think the both of us paired together is great. I think it's great for the tour, and it's going to be a lot of fun."
Both leaders said they were nervous.
"I think if you're not nervous, you don't care," said Thompson, who is from Coral Springs. "But it's a good nervous. This is what I've been waiting for and what I've worked my whole life for."
Charley Hull, the Englishwoman who turned 18 last month, was two strokes back with five-time major champion and second-round co-leader Se Ri Pak (71). Hull birdied the 18th for 66, the best round of the day in perfect afternoon conditions in the Coachella Valley.
PGA: Matt Kuchar overcame windy conditions to match the low round of the day, 4-under 68, and take a four-shot lead after three rounds of the Houston Open at Humble, Texas.
Kuchar had three straight birdies on the back nine at the Golf Club of Houston to vault past second-round leader Sergio Garcia (73) and sit at 15-under 201. Garcia was in second with Cameron Tringale (69).
Phil Mickelson (72) was inconsistent from the opening hole and was 6 under. Rory McIlroy shot 3-over 74 and was 1 under.
At last week's Texas Open, Kuchar also played in the final pairing for the final round. He shot 75 and finished fourth.
"It's a nice position to have played well last week, to have been in the last group with a chance to win and again to come back this week, completely different course, and have another shot to win," Kuchar said.